By David A. Willauer-Contributing Editor-Wells Fargo Center-Philadelphia, PA-Saturday, March 19, 2011-For Zack Rey it has been a bit of ups and downs, in his freshman year at Lehigh, he finished 2nd to Gil Flores of Columbia in the EIWA's at the University of Pennsylvania which qualified him for the NCAA Tournament where he finished with a 2-2 record. After his first 2 wins in the NCAA's in St. Louis, he lost 2 one point decisions to Kent State's Jermail Porter in the quarter finals by a 4-3 score and was eliminated in the consolation quarter final round by Zack Sheaffer of the University of Pittsburgh by a 4-3 sudden victory loss in which he was one match short of placing.
In his sophomore year was a dream come true when he won the EIWA's in 2010 and qualified for the NCAA's in Omaha, NE there he won his first 3 matches and met Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State University for the second time after he was pinned by the Cowboy in :30 seconds at the Virginia Duals, lost to Rosholt in the semi finals of the NCAA Tournament by a 4-0 score becoming the first Lehigh Wrestler to advance to the semi finals and All American since 2006 and finished in 3rd place where he defeated 2009 NCAA runnerup Konrad Dudziak by a 4-2 sudden victory win.
This year was a different story where he was the number 1 seed all season and the first Lehigh wrestler to do so since Troy Letters and Jon Trenge both did in 2005 and led Lehigh with 29 individual wins and only 1 loss to Gil Flores of American by a 4-2 score after defeating Flores at Lehigh by a 5-3 score. This time the two wrestlers met for the fourth time overall where Rey won by a close 2-1 match to claim his NCAA wrestling title the first for head wrestling coach Pat Santoro.
"In the third period Flores is a very funky person, as we rolled around the mat, we got into a funky position where I was on my back a little bit and I knew just to hold onto his leg and to roll through and I tried to get to my stomach." said Rey. "When it turned out to be he just gave me a lot of riding time and killing a lot of the clock in the third period, after that scramble, my shoulder was a little banged up but 17 seconds left it was pretty tough to score on in a short amount of time so I knew I was in a good spot to win the title."
"When Steve Mocco was named assistant coach at Lehigh it bought another level to my conditioning and fighting and just my confidence." "Because nobody else in the country works out with a guy as good as I do every day with Steve." "One of the best wrestlers in the world working out with Steve makes me tougher and to learn to hand fight and to use my strength, power and my size against other opponents and it helps me big time to where I am to be today.
Zack Rey concludes his junior year with a career record at 90-11 overall, 34-1 this year.